Tuesday, August 24, 2010

SMART targets 1.5M trees planted by 2010

SMART targets 1.5M trees planted by 2010
The News Today - Online Edition
August 23, 2010

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is close to hitting its target of planting over 1.5 million seedlings and mangrove propagules under a three-year tree planting agreement inked in 2008 with parent company Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and the PLDT-Smart Foundation together with Japan’s NTT DOCOMO, Inc.

Smart has already planted some 425,750 of the 995,000 seedlings targeted for 2010 alone. Sites include the Marikina Watershed in NCR; Bulacan, Batangas, Palawan, Subic, Marikina, Pampanga,and Camarines Sur in Luzon; Bohol, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Siquijor, Guimaras, Kalibo, Roxas, and Antique in Visayas; and Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Sarangani in Mindanao.

“Our program partners and employee-volunteers continue to be instrumental in our campaign to increase the country’s forest cover. Since 2008, they have been helping us surpass our yearly targets,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon R. Isberto.
Tree Planting

On the first year of the agreement, Smart surpassed its target of 150,000 by planting some 167,000 seedlings and propagules in close to 10 provinces nationwide. The following year, the company stepped up its tree planting campaign to exceed its target of 350,000 for a total of 363,000 seedlings.

In each site, Smart is closely in partnership with the local offices of government agencies that include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), and non-government organizations like the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR), and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) to ensure proper implementation of the tree planting program.

Smart and its partners not only plant trees but also conduct activities that benefit the communities in the area.

In Norzagaray, Bulacan, Smart helped its partner Dumagat community to establish the Norzagaray-Dumagat Multi-Purpose Cooperative, which oversees its seedling nursery. The Dumagats not only provide the seedlings needed for SMART’s reforestation program at the Ipo Dam, but also earn a living from the care and maintenance of the seedlings planted in the area.

Smart also conducted a mangrove planting activity in Barangay Cagsao in Calabanga, Camarines Sur in support of the community’s disaster-preparedness and risk-reduction efforts under the Project Strengthening Assets and Capacities of Communities and Local Governments for Resilience to Disasters (ACCORD) led by the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR).

The telco provided the community with the mangrove propagules to be planted along the coastline, as well as other materials needed for the project. Employee-volunteers and partner groups also lent a hand in the series of planting activities.

Smart has been working with community partners in increasing forest cover since 2004 under Kabalikat, its corporate social responsibility program and community service program.